What’s on the ballot in California’s 2022 midterm election?

illustration of a paper ballot and pen
Election day is Nov. 8. But in California it’s really an election month, with all 22 million registered voters in the state getting mail-in ballots.
(Nicole Vas / Los Angeles Times)

OK, California, there’s just one more round to go.

You picked the top candidates in the June primary election, and now it’s time to decide on those matchups. Ballots are out for the midterm election and in-person voting is underway.

So what are we voting on this time? And how, exactly, do we do that?

Here’s what you need to know:


When is the election?

Election day is Nov. 8. But in California it’s really an election month, with all 22 million registered voters in the state getting mail-in ballots.


Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.

Nov. 1, 2022


What are voters deciding on?

Gov. Gavin Newsom is up for reelection for his second and final term after he beat a recall attempt last year. California voters will also pick candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, insurance commissioner, controller and superintendent of public instruction.

State Assembly seats and even-numbered state Senate districts are up this year as well. And voters will cast ballots for the state Board of Equalization and the judicial system.

Californians will also cast votes in two separate U.S. Senate races — though they’re both for the seat held by Sen. Alex Padilla, who was appointed by Newsom after Kamala Harris left the Senate to become vice president. A special vote to finish the term ending Jan. 3, 2023, and the regularly scheduled vote for the six-year term ending in 2029 are next to each other on the ballot.

Sen. Alex Padilla, appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom when Kamala Harris became vice president, appears twice on ballot, facing Republican attorney Mark Meuser.

Nov. 8, 2022


What about Los Angeles County and L.A. races?

Municipal contests are unfolding around the state. None is more exciting than the Los Angeles mayoral race between Rep. Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso to succeed termed-out Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The city’s highest office was last open in 2013, and this is the first time in more than a century the election was realigned to coincide with state and national elections. It has attracted more than $109 million in candidate spending, making it the most expensive candidate campaign in the city’s history. Billionaire Caruso has spent nearly $98 million of his money on the race.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is in a tight race to keep his job, with retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna emerging as the front-runner.

Oct. 17, 2022

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has come under fire for his handling of misconduct allegations, gang-like cliques of sheriff’s deputies and other scandals, is facing off against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna to be the county’s top law enforcement officer.

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath are running for a seat on the county Board of Supervisors to replace retiring Sheila Kuehl.

In Los Angeles, city races are being held for attorney, controller, four City Council districts and two school board districts.

The racist comments by Councilmember Nury Martinez in a leaked recording are only part of a chaotic political landscape in Los Angeles, where an election is just weeks away.

Oct. 11, 2022


What about the congressional races?

Call it the ‘I don’t know’ election in the fight for Congress. Republicans still have advantages, but Democrats appear energized in the post-Roe environment.

Sept. 6, 2022

California is losing a congressional seat for the first time in its history as a consequence of slowed population growth. The shifting lines for 52 new districts — drawn by an independent panel after the 2020 census — fueled increased competition, prompting some officials to resign early or not seek reelection.

Bass’ seat in South Los Angeles is among those with no incumbent. It will remain in Democratic hands. But because of the number of competitive races in California, which will still have the largest congressional delegation in the nation, the state’s voters could help decide the balance of power in Congress.

Here are 11 key California congressional races to watch.

2022 California midterm election: There are 52 House races in California on Nov. 8. Look up the candidates in your congressional district here.

Nov. 3, 2022

In California election ads, Democrats running for Congress spotlight abortion access after Roe vs. Wade’s overturn; Republicans focus on inflation.

Oct. 19, 2022


Are there propositions on the ballot?

Yes, there are seven. A simple majority is required for each measure to pass.

California’s November election will feature seven statewide ballot measures.

Nov. 7, 2022

  • Proposition 31 would ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products. Tobacco companies have spent tens of millions of dollars opposing the effort.
  • Wealthy Californians would pay an additional 1.75% income tax on earnings above $2 million to fund zero-emission vehicles and wildfire programs if voters pass Proposition 30. A major financial supporter of the effort is the ride-sharing company Lyft.
  • Though abortion rights are sacrosanct in California, the Legislature voted to put an amendment to the state’s constitution on the November ballot after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. Proposition 1 would explicitly protect the right to abortion in California.
  • Proposition 28 would provide about $1 billion from the state’s general fund to pay for arts and music education in public schools.
  • Voters will be asked — for a third time — if they want greater oversight of kidney dialysis centers. Proposition 29 would require clinics to have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant on premises during treatment hours.

How do I check if I’m registered to vote?

Californians can check their status online. You’ll need your California driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

You may have to register again if you’ve moved and didn’t notify the Department of Motor Vehicles or Postal Service, or if you changed your name since the last time you voted.


Can I still register to vote?

The deadline to register by mail or online has passed, but if you missed the deadline, you can still cast a ballot. Visit a county elections office or voting center to complete a conditional voter registration up until election day. This will allow you to cast a ballot, which will count after verification by county election officials.

For as long as anyone can remember, pundits have used the “midterm” label for elections halfway between presidential elections. But what does it mean?

Sept. 14, 2022


Where can I find a voter guide?

The voter guide that the secretary of state’s office mailed out is also available online.


Who is running for California governor? What are the propositions on the ballot? Here is your guide to the 2022 midterm election.

Nov. 8, 2022


What if I need a guide or voting instructions in another language?

Voting information is available in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.


Can I vote if I don’t have a permanent address?

Absolutely. Your right to vote isn’t canceled out if you’re homeless, living off the grid or don’t yet have a fixed place. You must be 18 or older on election day, a U.S. citizen and a state resident to qualify to vote.

Addresses are requested when registering to vote because it helps election officials determine which races you’re eligible to vote on. Plus, it allows them to mail you a ballot and voter guide. But voters can also fill out the address section with the place they spend most of their time.


What happens if I don’t get a ballot or if I lose it?

If you haven’t received your vote-by-mail ballot or lose or destroy it, you can contact your county elections office to be sent a second one. You can also show up at your local polling place and vote with a provisional ballot.


How do I return my mail-in ballot?

Ballots can be placed in drop boxes or submitted in person at voting centers. To find your closest drop box or center, enter your city and ZIP Code here. Ballots can also be mailed to county election officials so long as they are postmarked on or before Nov. 8. (Don’t forget to sign the return envelope.) To be counted, a ballot must be received no later than Nov. 15.


I want to vote in person. How do I find out where to go?

Your sample ballot should have an address printed on it showing your local polling site. If an address isn’t listed, you can call the secretary of state’s voter hotline at (800) 345-8683 or check here.


What if I want to go vote early?

You can find early voting sites at the secretary of state’s website.


How can I make sure my vote gets counted?

After you’ve sent in your ballot, you can check here to track it online. You’ll be able to see when it was received and when it was counted.


What happens after election day?

County election officials will count ballots and certify the results. In many races, results may not be known for days because mail-in ballots postmarked on election day have until Nov. 15 to arrive. County election officials must send official totals to the secretary of state by the 31st day after the election.


Learn who to talk to in government when you want to get things done in your neighborhood. Get involved in your L.A. County community with the help of our people’s guide to power.

Oct. 18, 2022